Mayor Bill de Blasio

NYC to Create Vaccine Hubs to Accelerate Inoculations

Dec 31, 2020

New York City is ramping up its coronavirus vaccination effort by creating new vaccine hubs.

Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said the city expects to have 250 vaccination sites open in January using school gyms, coronavirus testing sites and community clinics.

“We are picking the locations of these sites to help ensure access in our priority neighborhoods for the places and the people who have been hardest hit by this vicious virus,” he said.

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Mayor de Blasio applauded the first coronavirus vaccination in New York City but at the same time warned of new restrictions.

De Blasio said he felt a sense of hope as he watched a hospital worker take the vaccine. "We will turn the tide on the coronavirus. This is a day to celebrate,” said the mayor.

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New York City school buses will be up and running for the start of in-classroom learning but classroom concerns from teachers and parents remain.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the routes are now set and parents can expect school bus schedules by the end of the week.

“Mandatory masks for everyone, adults and children alike on the buses," he said. "That means there will be social distancing. That means there will be windows open.”

Some NYC Schools Have Not Passed COVID Inspections

Sep 8, 2020
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Tuesday was the first day teachers were to report to their classrooms in New York City but some were not able to do so.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said there are 10 buildings identified as needing repairs across the board when it comes to ventilation and other issues connected to coronavirus.

“We’re prioritizing these buildings to get all systems up to par by the 21st of September," he said. "Meanwhile, staff at those buildings will be temporarily working from home.”

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New York City is providing free childcare for some working parents who need help with their child doing remote learning.

Starting Sept. 21 there will be seats for 30,000 children, preschool to eighth grade, and that number will grow to 100,000 over the next few months.

Susan Haskell is the deputy commissioner for youth services. “We know that working parents will need a helping hand," she said. "So Learning Bridges will provide support by offering free childcare on remote learning days for families whose children are enrolled in blended learning.”

De Blasio Urges New Yorkers Not to Buy Vehicles

Aug 14, 2020
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The number of people buying vehicles in New York City is surging but the mayor advises against it.

Motor vehicle stats show there were 40,000 vehicles registered in the month of July, about a 25% jump from July of last year. Whether people are hesitant to use public transportation because of coronavirus, or whether the increase is a result of car dealers being closed for a bit in the spring no one can say for sure, but regardless, Mayor de Blasio said he does not like it.

Mayor De Blasio Sticks to Sept. 10 School Opening

Aug 13, 2020
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is insisting the plan is still to have school open as scheduled September 10th as principals ask for in person learning to be delayed.

Principals and administrators have a lot of unanswered questions and concerns related to the coronavirus. They feel they may not be ready for schools opening in time but Mayor de Blasio says there’s still a month to go.

“The fact that there is a lot of outstanding questions doesn’t scare me. We are going to deal with the questions. We’re going to keep making progress everyday,” he said.

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New York City officials are planning on a combination of classroom and remote learning to start the school year.

The city is submitting its plans to the state on how schools will operate during the pandemic.

Mayor de Blasio says school buildings will only open if the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus remains below 3%.

“I am very hopeful when I say that, because New York City, thanks to all your good efforts, has been under three percent since June 10th.” 

NYC Reveals Hybrid Plan for School in September

Jul 8, 2020
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New York City officials are revealing a hybrid learning plan for the start of the school year in September to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

Mayor de Blasio says the vast majority of children will head to the classroom two to three days a week. The other days will be remote learning.

“This blended model, this kinda split schedule model is what we can do under current conditions,” the mayor said.

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A WBGO Conversation with News Director Doug Doyle and Bob Hennelly.

Doyle: Here in the United States local and state public health officials were scrambling this week in their efforts to get ahead of the coronavirus pandemic which has already killed over 1,000 people in Italy and over 4,000 in the rest of the world with close to 50 here in the U.S. After weeks of messaging from the Trump administrations that the coronavirus was like the flu, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top epidemiologist, shared some sobering news when he testified before Congress this week.

In response to a measles outbreak affecting the Orthodox Jewish community in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a public health emergency.

All residents in Williamsburg are being ordered to receive a mandatory measles vaccination.  New York City Health Department Commissioner Oxiris Barbot says unvaccinated residents could face a fine.

NYC Updates Vision Zero Plan

Feb 19, 2019

The New York City Department of Transportation released its updated Vision Zero Action Plan.  

Officials say nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities occur on a small percentage of streets.  Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking immediate action.

“This year you’re going to see more pedestrian head starts at key intersections.  It’s going to give people more time to cross the street and make them safer.  This year you’re going to see traffic lights retimed in certain key areas to reduce speeding.”

NYC Council Considering Ban On Cashless Business

Feb 15, 2019

The New York City Council is considering a proposed plan to ban businesses from using a payment model that refuses cash and only accepts electronic payments.  Supporters of the bill say it discriminates against low-income customers.

But the ban also has critics.  Michelle Gauthier owns the Manhattan based fast casual restaurant chain Mulberry & Vine.  She says the cashless payment system has only benefitted her customers while improving employee workflow.

De Blasio calls the initiative NYC Care, a program that will give any ineligible city resident access to treatment through public hospitals.

“Get the heath care you need when you need it,” de Blasio said.  “You won’t end up in the emergency room.  You won’t end up in a hospital bed if you actually get the care you need when a disease starts, not when it’s already too late.”

“For those who can afford something, they’ll pay on a sliding scale.  It they can’t afford anything, care will be for free.  No one will be turned away and care will be comprehensive.”

New York City is phasing in the new Fair Fairs program which offers half-priced MetroCards to low income residents. 

Initially, only working New Yorkers at or below the federal poverty level receiving cash assistance benefits will qualify for discounted passes.  In April, SNAP recipients are eligible.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says 2018 crime stats show overall improvements from the previous year. 

For the second year in a row, Mayor de Blasio says New York City experienced less than 300 homicides. 

“Less than one homicide a day in this city and we intend to go farther.  It’s extraordinary what has been achieved,” de Blasio said.

Overall arrests are down 37 percent since de Blasio took office.

“You don’t have a mass incarceration crisis if people aren’t being unnecessarily arrested,” de Blasio said.

New York City Commissioner of both the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and Consumer Affairs Julie Menin has been appointed to direct outreach efforts for the upcoming 2020 Census.  

“There are literally billions of dollars that flow or don’t flow according to the census,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.  “Money that comes down to whether people have health care or food, opportunity or safety, or not.  It comes down to whether we have proper representation in Congress.”

NYC Public Advocate Special Election Date Set

Jan 2, 2019

Over 20 candidates already registered with the New York City Campaign Finance Board will have until February 26th to win over voters.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed campaign finance legislation that clarifies the city’s current referendum covers the special election.

“To get big money out of our local elections and to empower every day New Yorkers who give small donations and strengthen them by adding to the ability of those donations to be matched with public matching funds.”

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The 'Bronx Action Plan' dedicates 8-million-dollars to increase neighborhood addiction treatment services.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says another million will go towards an ad campaign warning about the dangers of fentanyl.  

“We’re in the middle of a battle against opioids.  This has gotten harder, not easier over the years, especially because of fentanyl. But what this city decided to do is take this battle head on,” de Blasio said.

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A moment of silence was held in commemoration of the lives lost when a man drove a truck onto a bike path a year ago today, killing eight people and injuring a eleven others.  

“There’s been an extraordinary sense of solidarity from New Yorkers for all of the families that lost loved ones," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.  "That day could have gone very differently.  It could have been much worse had our first responders not done their jobs so extraordinarily well, so bravely.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio applauded New Yorkers for staying brave in the face of terror.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to create a memorial in The Olde Town of Flushing Burial Ground in Queens.  

Now part of New York City’s parks department, it’s said up to 1,000 people were buried on site in the 1800’s.  Death records from the period show a majority of them are African American or Native American.  

De Blasio To Expand NYC Ferry Service

May 3, 2018

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to further expand the NYC Ferry service.  He says it has far exceeded annual ridership expectations.

“We thought the most we could possibly see with the existing lines was about 4.5 million riders a year.  Now we have a new projection.  In just a few years, that number will double to 9 million a year.”

De Blasio wants to invest $300 million in capital funding into NYC Ferry over the next five years.

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  Mayor Baraka says nearly 78 percent of Newark residents are renters, and the most financially vulnerable of them would have no access to a lawyer, even for an illegal eviction.

“We’re going to start off immediately dealing with folks that are disabled, our seniors, and the undocumented immediately for the first year,” Baraka said.

Baraka is counting on the local non-profit and pro bono legal community to roll out the program. 

“McCarter & English and other law firms like that have said they are already interested in being a part of this.”

  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says it’s time to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the opioid epidemic.

“Those who created the problem have to feel the consequences, change their ways and finally address the damage they have done.  The suit targets seven manufacturers and three distributors who are most responsible for creating this crisis.”

He says they deceived the public, while putting lives at risk, all for the sake of profits.

De Blasio Calls For NY State Electoral Reform

Nov 8, 2017

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says it wasn't only bad weather that caused anemic turnouts on Election Day.  He says his second administration will fight to change election laws in Albany.

“We are one of only thirteen states that doesn’t allow early voting.  Early voting is the greatest preventative measure to make sure people aren’t excluded because of the weather or because work went late, or the subway broke down.  If you don’t have early voting you’re implicitly allowing the disenfranchisement of a huge number of voters.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Wins Re-election

Nov 8, 2017
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cruised to re-election Tuesday.  The mayor collected about 66 percent of the vote compared to 28 for his main challenger, Republican Nicole Malliotakis, with more than 95 percent of the election precincts reporting.

“We have a lot to be proud of, but we can’t stop now,” de Blasio said in a victory speech at the Brooklyn Museum.

WBGO's Scott Pringle was at the election night headquarters.  Click above to hear his report.

NYC Tech Jobs On the Rise, More Profitable

Sep 8, 2017
Ang Santos / WBGO

A report from the New York State Comptroller says the amount of jobs in the Big Apple’s tech sector has grown nearly sixty percent in six years. 

“Last year, employment in the tech sector surpassed 280,000 jobs,” said New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  “Which ranked New York third in the nation after California and Texas.  Since 2010, this sector in New York State as a whole has added more than 57,000 jobs.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the growth of tech job salaries is outpacing other’s in the private sector.

A Harlem Library Named After Harry Belafonte

May 8, 2017
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The 115th Street library in Harlem is being named after singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte.

“I grew up in this very space.  I lived on 114th Street and Manhattan Avenue.  I used to go to Manhattan Park to hang out and do mischief.  But this library and this community did a lot to shape my life,” Belafonte said.  “I’ve done a lot in my life, but this particular ceremony has deeper resonance and deeper meaning than I think many of you would realize.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made it official.

Tragedy Fuels Pay Disparity in New York City

Apr 28, 2017
Yadira Arroyo
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Last month's violent line of duty death of 44-year old FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo has thrown a spotlight on the vast pay disparity between what members of the FDNY’s Emergency Medical Service are paid versus every other uniform agency including the Department of Sanitation.

The Future of NYC's Homeless Hotels

Feb 24, 2017
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New York City and its mayor Bill de Blasio are sending mixed signals over plans to end the controversial practice of renting out hotel rooms to house its homeless population. This comes as the number of people sleeping in city shelters reached record numbers last year. De Blasio says he wants to end the practice, which critics call disruptive and expensive.  Documents show the city may continue the practice for up to nine years.